Six Ways To Spark Inspiration on “Live Creative Day”

There seems to be a “National Day” for almost anything, but this one, I can get behind. September 14th is National Live Creative Day. The purpose of the day is to take time for creative hobbies that we may have pushed aside. Taking time for hobbies like painting, dancing, writing, and other outlets gives our minds time to reset and see things from a new perspective.

As adults, we often get swamped in work, family, and other things. So we don’t always have the time or energy to tap into our creativity and imagination with different hobbies. I challenge you (as I challenge myself) to do something today and beyond (at least once a week or month) that allows you to be creative and have fun.

Here are some great ways to explore your imagination and creativity on Live Creative Day!

Continue reading “Six Ways To Spark Inspiration on “Live Creative Day””

Six Tips To Help Build Up Your Self-Confidence

A lot of us struggle with self-confidence from time to time, myself included. I truly am my own worst critic and I imagine I will continue to be. However, I’m trying my best to incorporate some new things to keep my confidence and self-esteem up.

Self-confidence really is like a muscle you have to maintain. If you continue to work it out, it will grow. If you don’t, it tends to flop and sag. So here are six tips that are helping me build up and maintain self-confidence…I hope they help you too!

Continue reading “Six Tips To Help Build Up Your Self-Confidence”

Forgiveness: Difficult, But Necessary

By Alexis Janel (Guest Writer)

No one is immune to being wronged. In fact, if you just keep living, you will find that some of the people you least expect will end up hurting you. With this new year of 2019 upon us, don’t expect for all friendships and relationships of last year and years prior to go forward with you. As you grow as an individual and professional, you will be mistreated, gossiped about, and discounted. However, it’s important to forgive anyway. In my 22, almost 23 years of living, I am still trying to work on the area of forgiveness. People will try you, and believe me, I’ve been tried many times before.

You as a reader may be saying, “You don’t know my petty family.” Or “You don’t know my careless friends.” Or even “You don’t know my manipulative co-worker. Forgive!?!?”

Jada Pinkett Smith, who I truly adore, has been running her popular Red Table Talk series that I’ve been following for months. It’s very humbling to see Jada, her mother, and daughter, Willow Smith, have this platform that continues to weigh in on heavy subject matters that a lot of individuals struggle with. One episode that completely stunned me was entitled, “Learning to Forgive.” This is where it gets real. Jada sits down with her younger brother, Caleeb Pinkett, to discuss the reality of having to forgive their father for choosing a life of drugs over his kids. Although their father is now deceased, you can still see clear as day that his absence throughout their lives affected them tremendously. The clip below on forgiveness is so powerful that it has resonated with me since I watched it.

After watching that, you probably started thinking about your own life and a situation you have been dwelling on for far too long. Let it go. As long as you allow a circumstance to fester inside of you, it will control you. Usually, the person that has offended you has gone on about his or her life, while you are still consumed with the offense done towards you. In a recent Facebook post I wrote, “If people are meant to be in my life, God will align our paths again.”

I know everyone reading may not be spiritual or religious, but there is a lesson for all of us to learn. You cannot always control how people may feel about you or things they have done, but you can control how you respond and move forward. If someone wants to apologize, they will. If they don’t want to apologize, they won’t. Channel your energy towards the relationships and friendships that add value to your life, not stifle it. Or that business you’ve been fixated on launching, instead of envying someone else’s. Or something as basic as getting back to you and loving you MORE by eating healthier food, applying for school, treating yourself to a new adventure locally or internationally, and participating in more positive conversations that feed your soul.

The next time you want to harbor in your heart past or present offenses, say: “I choose to live in peace, even when life and some people in life are not as peaceful to me.” Forgiveness: difficult, yet necessary. If you are offended, choose to be mature and forgive. If you say that you have made peace with a particular person or situation, don’t keep bringing it up every chance you get. That means the following: 1) You didn’t forgive like you said. 2) You may need to take a moment to assess what role you played in allowing the offense in the first place and/or allowing the offense to hold you hostage.

Forgive, for your own peace, and carry on with your life.

Your Gift Vs. Your Passions

I’m a huge fan of Steve Harvey. Particularly in recent years, I’ve closely followed his Words of Wisdom and inspiring messages on social media and on his radio and TV shows. He’s very wise and encouraging to me. A while back, he posted this video filmed during his talk show where he discussed following your gift and not your passion. Watch below…

I was confused at first because I always figured passions and gifts to be the same. In the video, though, Steve says a true statement. Your gift is the thing you do the absolute best with the least amount of effort. (If you’re confused or don’t know what your gift/purpose is, here are some questions that might help you get there). After thinking about it more, I realized that gifts and passions really aren’t quite the same.

When I was young, I had a real passion for singing. I thought that’s what I wanted to be. I sang in three different choirs, honing my voice, practicing runs and trying to hit notes from some of my favorite artists.  You couldn’t tell me that I wasn’t going to be a star. Then I grew up and realized no one was offering me a contract *LOL* Not only did I see that I wasn’t as talented as I thought, but my sights also turned to something else: writing. Writing was something that came so easily to me. It was my path of expression when I couldn’t get my words out through talking. It was a quiet listener as I journaled joy and pain. It was a great way to get my point across to others.  As I got older, I realized that I had a passion for singing, but writing was indeed my gift.

I see now that passion is just something that you really like or even love to do at a current place in your life. It could very well be a lifelong thing, but passions can change. Passions can fade away. Your gift, the thing you were truly meant to do on this earth, is completely different. I believe your gift is something that you are indeed great at and passionate about. However, what also separates it from just another thing you love to do is that you can’t quit it. No, really. You CAN’T quit it. I’ve found that something will always pull you right back to it, because your gift does indeed make room for you (Proverbs 18:16 in the Bible). Even when you’re trying your best to push it out.

Case in point, there have been several times that I wanted to quit writing completely and came pretty close. I was not only about to walk away from my old entertainment blog, but I was getting ready to quit my freelancing gig as well. It all seemed to be too much for me to handle, and I figured I should just focus on my 9-5, getting my little paycheck so I could save up to move to my own apartment. I even began writing up my final post for Spotlight and a quitting letter to my editor.

Then some strange things happened. Not only did another opportunity I applied for months beforehand actually come through, but I also was asked to host a writing workshop at my church for high school students. They were small but real signs from God that I’m meant to be doing this. No matter how hard it got, He had placed this gift in me and it was my responsibility to use it well.  

Even on the occasions that opportunities weren’t coming, and I wanted to quit, thinking that I must not be good enough for this. Whenever something happened, in my life or in news, one of my first inclinations was to write about it. Whenever I saw posts or videos about freelance writers or bloggers, I would still flock to it.

Your gift is something you truly can’t escape. You either gravitate towards it some kind of way or it pulls you back in, even when you’re trying to let it go. I’ve also found that it not only gives you joy and fulfillment but if used correctly, it also serves others. For Steve, he has the gift of comedy. It can be fun to crack jokes, but I’m sure there are people in the audience need those laughs to take their mind off things for a second. For someone who has their own business, his or her service or product serves a greater purpose for others. For those who create content, writing, videos, music, etc., you serve others who need entertainment, news, positivity, or great songs they can relate to.

The best part about your gift is that it’s already ingrained in you. Think about what you love to do that comes seemingly effortless to you. Think about what you’ve maybe even tried to walk away from but it kept pulling you back. That’s your gift.

 Do you know what your gift is? How do you or how could you use it for a greater purpose? Let me know in the comments!

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